Issue date: 
Monday, 10 July 2023

Feature Film Production Investment  

At the June 2023 Board Meeting, the NZFC Board approved conditional offers of funding to two new feature films.   

The Rule of Jenny Pen (Feature Drama) 

Logline: Confined to a secluded rest home, an ailing judge must stop an elderly psychopath who employs a child's puppet to abuse the home's residents with deadly consequences. 

Producers: Catherine Fitzgerald, Orlando Stewart 

Director: James Ashcroft 

Writers: Eli Kent, James Ashcroft  

Kiri and Lou Make Friends (Stop Motion Animation) 

Logline: A true story from prehistoric times! Based on actual fossil records! Lovable prehistoric creatures Kiri and Lou are thrown into a survival adventure in this family musical about empathy and kindness. 

Producer: Fiona Copland 

Writer/Director: Harry Sinclair 

Extended Screen Production Recovery Fund 

The NZFC approved grant funding to four new applications: 

Blessing (Short Film) $5,854 

Producers: Sarah Cook, Jimena Murray 

Director: Jane Shearer 

Lead Writer: Jane Shearer, Steve Ayson 

Boy Eats God (Short Film) $8,250 

Producers: Maria Tanner 

Writer/Director: Litia Tuiburelevu 

I See You (Short Film) $9,730 

Producers: Caroline Hutchison 

Writer/Director: Briar March 

Moving Houses Series 2 (Series Doc) $71,094 

Producers: Sam Blackley, Neil Stichbury 

Director: Roz Mason, Emily Qereqeretabua 

Lead Writer: Bettina Hollings 

The fund remains open for applications for direct costs due to COVID-19 events affecting productions before June 2023. 

Premium Contingency Fund 

The COVID-19 Subcommittee approved conditional equity to two applications: 

A Mistake (Feature Drama)

Producer: Matthew Metcalfe

Writer/Director: Christine Jeffs

Dark City - The Cleaner (Series Drama)

Producers: John Barnett, Chloe Smith

Director: Rick Jacobson

Writer: Paul Cleave

Feature Film Finishing Grant 

Four applications to the Feature Film Finishing Grant have been approved and feature in the 2023 Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival programme: 

The Paragon  $59,500 

Logline: The victim of a hit-and-run learns how to be psychic to find the car that hit him and take revenge on the driver. 

Writer/Director/Producer: Michael Duignan 

Red Mole: A Romance  $58,900 

Logline: Red Mole: A Romance traces the origins, performances, personalities and fate of the 1970s radical theatre troupe Red Mole and is both an underexplored history and a poignant personal story. 

Writer/Director/Producer: Annie Goldson 

Home Kills  $59,000 

Logline: It’s desperate times for a small rural home kills and butchery service, as big business begins to threaten their livelihood. The owners fall into offering a new service - killing people, to make ends meet. 

Writer/Director/Producer: Haydn Butler 

Grant Sheehan: Light, Ghosts & Dreams  $57,442 

Logline: A film on the life and art of avant-garde New Zealand photographer and publisher Grant Sheehan and his creative Artificial Intelligence (AI) explorations.   

Writer/Director/Producer: Robin Greenberg 

The fund remains open for independently financed films who meet the criteria including for distribution and reaching audiences. 

Early Development & Documentary Development Funding 

Elephant Kiss (Drama)  $25,000 

Logline: Sisters Jess and Rosa take their beloved dog Maxx on a quest to find the magical elephant Mythra that can cure animals, but to succeed they need the help of best friends Denny and Natalie. 

Producer: Lloyd Meiklejohn 

Writer: Kristi Barnett 

Director: Rouzie Hassanova 

Foreign Body (Drama)  $22,575 

Logline: A foreign gap-year student moves in with a New Zealand family to experience their ‘culture’, but quickly discovers the psychologically damaged and dangerous truth behind their polite smiles and warm hospitality. 

Producer: Jonathan Potton 

Writer/Director: Tom Sainsbury 

God Bless You, Mr Kopu (Drama)  $25,000 

Logline: A meek and desperate Tongan man finds himself losing touch with reality after partnering with a successful but nefarious white salesman who uses short-term hypnosis to swindle people of their cash. 

Producer: Emma Slade, Roxi Bull 

Writer/Director Alex Liu 

Manu Masters (Drama)  $25,000 

Logline: A teenage wannabe “Manu” champion sets his sights on winning and along the way finds the father figure he didn’t know he was looking for. 

Producer: Libby Hakaraia 

Writer/Director: Te Wairangi Ratana 

Mother Help (Drama)  $25,000 

Logline: A struggling new mother has her life derailed when she inadvertently hires a Mother’s Help who isn't who she says she is, and a dream becomes a nightmare. 

Producer: Catherine Fitzgerald 

Writer: Catriona Troop 

Pati(wt) (Doco) $20,000 

Logline: The story of how two Samoan brothers sang their way from South Auckland to the world’s greatest opera stages – and into audiences’ hearts. 

Producer/Director: Rebecca Tansley 

Te Puhi (Drama) $10,000 

Logline: Aotearoa, New Zealand 1962. Te Puhi (18) is crowned Miss New Zealand claiming international fame overnight for being the first Māori to do so. Torn between whānau (family) and dreams of winning the Miss World title in London, Te Puhi goes on a journey of self-discovery and love. 

Producer: Sharlene George 

Writer/Director:  Cian Elise-White 

The 36th Negative (Drama) $25,000 

Logline: A renowned American photographer travels to New Zealand to document an undiscovered Māori tribe and finds herself in a life-changing journey, encountering a mysterious man who leads her to a stronghold, revealing dark secrets and forcing her to confront the past, the present and the future. 

Producer:  Deborah Cope 

Writers: Kelly Kilgour, Shahir Daud 

Director: Shahir Daud 

The Lie of the Land (Drama)  $25,000 

Logline: In the isolated and unforgiving high country of Otago, two dutiful farmer’s wives break free from the life expected of them, when they risk everything to be together. 

Producer: Phillip Smith 

Writer: Sara Wiseman 

Director: Caroline Bell Booth 

The Rise of Phoenix Starr (Drama)  $16,200 

Logline: 1985: A queer gender-diverse tween with big dreams to change the world runs away from her grief and small-town life, but when brutal thugs threaten her family, it forces her to reconsider her priorities. 

Producer: Leela Menon 

Writer/Director: KC Childs 

The current round of Early Development and Documentary Development Funding is due to be announced on 24 July.  

The next deadline for applications is 1pm Monday 7 August.  

Advanced Development Funding 

The 2023/2024 Advanced Development Round is currently open for applications at any time. 

One application to Advanced Development Funding has been approved: 

Two Days to Sunrise 

Producer: Pip Lingard 

Writer: Pavel Kvatch, Joe Ryan 

Director: Pavel Kvatch 

Seed and Seed Advanced Grants 

Seed recipients 

Soft – Pulkit Arora  

The Longest Drink in Town – Tracey Slaughter & Liam Hinton 

Blessed are the Sinners – Celestina Sumby 

Redemption Songs – Nathan Morris 

The Rider – Joseph Taylor 

The Mostly True Story of Amy Bock – Jane Wilson 

Seed Advanced recipients  

Pohpoh wants to Die – Hweiling Ow 

Tulpar – Rouzie Hassanova 

Seed & Seed Advanced Grants 

This round received 106 Seed and 32 Seed Advanced eligible applications. This is the highest number of Seed Advanced applications ever received, almost twice as many as the 2022 round of Seed. 

Industry Organisation Core Support Funding

The NZFC completed running a contestable round for Industry Organisation Core Support Funding in June. We received 22 applications with a total request of approx. $2.6m. The NZFC have awarded one year Industry Organisation Core Support Funding to the following organisations for 2023/24.

Pan Sector Industry Organisations

New Zealand Writers Guild Inc | Puni Taatuhi o Aotearoa (NZWG) $85,000

Screen Producers and Directors Association (SPADA) $85,000

Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand (DEGANZ) $85,000

Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand Incorporated (SIGANZ) $85,000

Script To Screen Te Tari Tuhi Kupu A Whaakahua $85,000

Equity New Zealand $50,000

Diversity Organisations 

Women in Film and Television (NZ) Inc (WIFTNZ) $85,000

Pan-Asian Screen Collective (PASC) $85,000

Pacific Islands Screen Artists Incorporated (PISA) $65,000

Māori Organisations

Ngā Aho Whakaari (NAW) $120,000


Last updated: 
Wednesday, 19 July 2023